News and Commentary

House Passes Bill Increasing COVID-19 Stimulus Checks To $2,000

Legislation passed in a 275-134 vote, with 44 Republicans voting in favor
A blank US government check with selective focus on the statue of liberty
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In a bipartisan vote joined by dozens of Republicans, the Democrat-controlled House on Monday passed a bill to increase the amount of direct payments to Americans struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic from $600 to $2,000.

The bill passed in a 275-134 vote, with 44 Republicans voting in favor. Under the legislation, eligible adults and children would receive $2,000, with individuals who make up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes twice that getting the full amount. The relief checks would decrease above those thresholds.

Adult dependents, such as college students, disabled adults and elderly relatives, would also be eligible for the $2,000 payments.

President Trump has repeatedly called for stimulus checks to be boosted to $2,000 instead of the $600 granted in a relief bill that passed both chambers of Congress on Tuesday by overwhelming majorities.

“Increase payments to the people, get rid of the ‘pork’,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday, a day after he refused to sign a $1.4 trillion government and a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill.

On Saturday evening, Trump wrote: “$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China’s fault!”

Trump said the COVID-19 relief bill with $600 checks is not enough. “I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,” Trump tweeted Saturday from Palm Beach, Florida.

He ultimately signed the relief package but said in a statement that he “told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said Monday that the Senate will try to pass the House bill on Tuesday.

Democrats in the House actually applauded Trump’s support for $2,000 direct payments.

“The president of the United States has put this forth as something that he wants to see, in part of his signing the legislation yesterday,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “I hope that that view will be shared by the Republicans in the Senate.”

Republicans also said the bill, known as the CASH Act, needed to be passed to help Americans. Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), who serves as co-chairman of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, said on Sunday that he supported the bill because “it is only fair that we act decisively now to deliver the comprehensive relief individuals desperately need.”

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the new bill would cost about $464 billion.

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit its peak in the U.S. in March, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill that included $1,200 direct payments to Americans.

The bill was called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security — or CARES — Act. The Internal Revenue Service cut 153.1 million checks and direct deposits all the way through August, totaling $269.3 billion, The Associated Press reported.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the $600 stimulus checks could start going out to Americans as soon as this week. “People are going to see this money [at] the beginning of next week,” he said during an interview with CNBC. “Much needed relief — and just in time for the holidays.”

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